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Press Release

Houston Man Heads to Prison for Credit Card Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

HOUSTON – A 29-year-old Houston resident has been ordered to federal prison following his convictions of conspiring to commit credit card fraud and aggravated identity theft, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Darnell Wayne Menard pleaded guilty Jan. 21, 2016.

Today, U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas sentenced Menard to 57 months for the conspiracy as well as a mandatory and consecutive 24 months for aggravated identity theft. The total 81-month-term will also be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. In handing down the sentence, Judge Atlas noted that Menard committed the offense while he was on bond after having been charged in state court with similar offense. The judge also said that this type of fraud imposes costs on everybody because merchants and credit card issuers pass the costs along to the public.

Menard admitted he purchased approximately 1,000 stolen credit card numbers over the Internet from websites outside the United States. He then created fraudulent credit cards by encoding stolen credit card numbers onto magnetic stripes on the back of gift and debit cards. He then used those fraudulent cards to purchase legitimate gift cards from Kroger and HEB grocery stores in Conroe and others during 2014 and 2015. 

Menard was first arrested for credit card fraud and charged in state court. However, upon his release on bond, Menard continued to engage in the same activity.   

He was arrested again on federal charges in June 2015, at which time authorities found an electronic encoder device that Menard had been using to encode stolen credit card numbers onto cards. They also found and seized a computer containing files listing numerous additional stolen credit card numbers, seven gift cards that Menard had encoded with stolen credit and debit card numbers.

Menard will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The Secret Service and the Texas Department of Public Safety investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney John R. Lewis is prosecuting the case.

Updated September 15, 2016

Financial Fraud
Identity Theft